Third day of JWC 2013

Today JWC focused on the way forward – turning ideas into reality.

The morning started with Rob MacMonagle from Canada presenting Toronto’s green economy strategies.  After an introduction to Toronto, Rob gave us some depressing data on the state of the earth and then went on to talk about his work for the City of Toronto on strategies for developing whole sectors in the green economy. There they have worked with innovation-integration strategies and a new paradigm: doing more with the same (or less).

Rob McMonagle

Rob McMonagle

Next up was Eva Vitell from Vatttenfall and Antonio Caló from University of Oulu discussing centralised vs. decentralised energy systems. They gave us a good overview on the technical point of view: transmission vs transformation, smart grids etc. Interestingly, Antonio tells us how energy use in Finland peaks twice a day except at the weekend when there is a third peak, a so called sauna peak in electricity use. We must get better at balancing energy use.

On the question “What is better for climate and sustainability” Antonio and Eva more or less agreed that a mix between centralised and decentralised energy systems is the best. Eva pointed out that centralised solar panels (i.e. big solar parks) often are better for the environment (more efficient) than small decentralised solar panels. In general renewable energy is considered decentralised. However, as Eva pointed out, wind and water power are very much centralised since wind and water is where it is. Antonio added that social, economic and environmental aspects of the energy systems have to be considered when thinking sustainability, and thus decentralised will be beneficial due to the use of local resources. Eva admitted that decentralisation with small producers entering the market is a challenge for Vattenfall.

Eva Vitell and Antonio Caló

Eva Vitell and Antonio Caló

The morning session ended with parallel round-table discussions resulting in questions for the panel discussion on climate and energy policy in the afternoon. The panel consisted of: Karl Petersen, Municipal league Norrbotten; Jeppe Mikel Jensen, Union of the Baltic Cities environment and sustainable development secretariat; Eva Vitell, Vattenfall; Jon Petter Gintal, Sami Parliament Norway; Governor Sven-Erik Österberg; and Counsellor Michael Sullivan, US Embassy.

Panel discussion

Overall the panel agreed on a lot of the questions asked. For example, on the question of “mining or no mining” in Jokkmokk (a very hot topic!). Karl Petersen emphasised that discussion should be developed into dialogue between people in the conflicts over land and natural resources. Others agreed and Eva further suggested that the dialogue requires a facilitator/mediator.

Transparency and education to help people understand the impact of things they purchase was suggested as a way to change people’s behaviour or consumer pattern. Furthermore, it was suggested that we need to make politicians secure/comfortable that we will re-elect them when they make the right (but sometimes difficult) decisions for the environment. Long term thinking in policy making was also considered important. Jon Petter finished off by reassuring us that the Sami people are here for the future – mines or no mines – and will adapt to change.

The day ended with open space discussions followed by the inauguration of Jokkmokk winter market.

 

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